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The Rich Pay 106 Percent of Income Taxes—and Should Pay None

The so-called “progressive” income tax is designed to tax “the rich” more—and that’s what it’s doing. CNBC reports:

Buried inside a Congressional Budget Office [CBO] report this week was this nugget: when it comes to individual income taxes, the top 40 percent of wage earners in America pay 106 percent of the taxes. The bottom 40 percent . . . pay negative 9 percent.

Of course, a “negative tax” is just an odd way of naming a subsidy. CNBC notes that the so-called “negative tax” consists partly of transfers “of money back to the taxpayer in the form of social security and food stamps.”

Egalitarians claim the government should tax the wealthy more (and more and more) in order to subsidize the less-wealthy. But the key moral issue is not who the government should force to subsidize whom; rather, it is that government ought not force anyone to subsidize anyone.

Each individual has the right to live by his own judgment, to work as he deems best, to trade freely with others, and to keep the product of his effort—whether that product is enormous or tiny. The government has no moral right to confiscate the wealth of the rich to subsidize others—as it has no moral right to confiscate anyone’s wealth.

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